If you’re using a truck snow plow for commercial snow removal, you’ve either A) never known anything better to use, or B) are okay with habitually doing things the hard way. The other day I was sitting in my hotel room in Duluth, MN preparing my video equipment for a day-long video shoot with a property manager that uses KAGE skid steer snow plows and a tractor snow plow handling snow removal for their three multi-unit apartment complexes.
As I was getting my gear together, I heard the drop of a snow plow on pavement outside my window so naturally I went to see what it was … it was a truck plow. I quickly grabbed my video camera and started recording because this is what helps illustrate why using the right equipment for the job is so important.
The parking lot the operator had to clear was of a small clinic that had quite a few cars parked in it already. Maneuverability was minimal to say the least and I thought this would a good opportunity to demonstrate why trucks are not the best machine for the job.
As I watched the truck plow snow around the lot, I had a bird’s-eye view of all the obstacles the operator had to work around. Besides all the parked cars in the lot, there were also pedestrians coming and going from the clinic, various islands and in some instances very little room to turn around.
Poor Visibility With a Truck Plowing Snow
In my experience filming skid steer snow plows over the years, it was truly painful for me to watch this poor operator take nearly a half hour messing around with this one parking lot. Not being able to turn the truck on the spot to plow in both directions was one thing, but to watch this operator go back and forth plowing and back dragging snow away from the building was, perhaps, the biggest time waste.
Not having a clear view of what was around the truck, the operator couldn’t move fast or all that efficiently. Add in the possibility of hitting a random pedestrian walking across the parking lot, it was more of a question of when something bad would happen, not if.
In a skid steer, you have a much greater view around you. With a skid steer you can see where the ground practically meets the snow plow – with a full-size pickup truck an operator has to look past a big hood and plow lights. Again, if you don’t feel comfortable going in reverse, you can turn a skid steer on the spot to always have a clear view of the direction you want to plow snow in.
Snow Containment With a Truck Snow Plow
In the video, you can see the operator has designated areas to pile the snow. What most truck plow operators don’t have is the luxury to use a box to contain and move large amounts of snow with. He’s forced to pile the snow in a central location in the lot, the push it straight to a pile.
With a snow plow system like the KAGE Snowfire mounted on a skid steer, the operator would be able to collect that pile of snow and move it to wherever they wanted to and do it in just seconds rather than minutes.
Piling Up the Snow With a Truck Snowplow
When the operator made a decent pile of snow in the middle of the lot, they’d push it to the pile, but without being able to push the snow over the back of the pile, it would begin to pour back into the lot making the pile wider to the point it would start to take up valuable space in the lot.
Again, the advantage goes to a skid steer snow plow that can push the snow up and over the pile minimizing the “ever-widening” snow pile.
The Take Away
In the professional snow removal business, there are three things that every operator wants to improve upon – Safety, Efficiency and Speed.
Using a truck can lead to many more chances of damaging property whether it be the client’s or your own. Having a machine that gives you more visibility like the skid steer leads to a safer operator experience.
The abilities of skid steer plowing snow far surpass that of a truck snow plow. First, the skid steer can lift snow higher on the pile. Next, the skid steer can quickly turn around and plow in both directions whereas a truck can only plow in one direction and back up in the other. This is not efficient for the operator and can lead to reduced profitability at that job site.
Finally, I want to point out the greatest benefit to using a skid steer versus over a truck to plow snow – Speed. Of course, the only way to truly see this in action is to put both side by side to prove my point, but if this operator was running a skid steer snow plow like the KAGE Snowfire, they would’ve been able to completely plow this lot in a third of the time that it took to use a truck snow plow.